RCB fall at MI hurdle, again

RCB fall at MI hurdle, again

Defending champions Mumbai Indians kept their knockout hopes alive by outwitting Royal Challengers Bangalore by six wickets in their IPL-9 encounter here at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.

For the first time in the season, the Challengers’ strong batting line-up was made to sweat but thanks to a gutsy unbeaten 68 from KL Rahul, the hosts posted a modest 151/4.

Fortunes kept fluctuating and at 98/4 in the 16th over, there was no clear winner yet. But Kieron Pollard’s unbeaten quickfire 35 (19b, 3x4, 2x6) and his unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 55 with Jos Buttler (29, 11b, 1x4, 3x6) gave Mumbai their sixth win, with 8 balls to spare.   

After the early dismissal of Parthiv Patel (1), the 58-run stand between skipper Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu laid the perfect foundation for Mumbai’s chase.

Rohit departed in the 10th over and RCB’s brilliant fielding gave them hopes of a win. Stuart Binny took a blinder in the deep, jumping high and holding his balance near the ropes to dismiss Nitish Rana in the 13th over and AB de Villiers took a stunner, running in from long on to latch on to a low catch from Rayudu off the first ball of the 16th over.  
Watson though leaked 18 runs of the 17th over to help Mumbai get closer to the target and the power-hitting of Pollard and Buttler proved to be too good for RCB. 

Put into bat, RCB found the going tough, with the Mumbai bowlers being accurate in their line and length. The disciplined effort from the Mumbai bowlers produced dividends as RCB made an uninspired start to their innings, scoring 25 runs for the loss of skipper Virat Kohli and comeback man Chris Gayle in the first six overs. 

Mitchell McClenaghan had Kohli caught at slip in the second over and RCB was jolted further when Gayle, perished in the fourth over to Tim Southee. Replacing Travis Head in the side, Gayle’s miserable run continued and the Jamaican opener could muster only 5 runs before being holed out to Rohit at mid off. 

The pace trio of Southee, McClenagan and Bumrah were right on target, forcing the RCB batsmen to try hard for their runs. Rahul and AB de Villiers then staged the recovery act and RCB reached 60/2 at half-way stage of their innings.

Krunal Pandya broke the promising stand of the duo when he bagged the crucial scalp of the De Villiers to keep Mumbai in firm control. De Villiers attempted a pull off a short delivery but failed to clear Rayudu at deep-wicket, putting the near-capacity crowd to silence.

Rahul though kept his composure to essay a fine innings pressure under pressure. The Karnataka batsman showed first signs of aggression against Jasprit Bumrah in the 8th over, crafting two boundaries. Notching up his fifty in 42 balls, Rahul forged a crucial alliance of 53 runs off just 23 balls for the fifth-wicket with Sachin Baby (25, 13b, 2x4, 2x6) to help the Challengers finish at a decent total.

Krunal (1/15) was the most impressive bowler for the visitors and the left-arm spinner’s economical spell rightly earned him the man of the match award.
DH News Service

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